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Unclaimed Funds: Become a Hero to Your Clients

Unclaimed Funds: Become a Hero to Your Clients

There are approximately $49 billion of unclaimed funds nationwide, with some $3 billion returned to their rightful owners every year.1

Imagine if you found unclaimed funds that belonged to one or more of your clients? That just might make you a hero in their eyes. The average amount of unclaimed property in New York state, for example, is just over $700 and, averages being averages, many claims are much higher than that.2

Unclaimed property is defined as a financial asset that is unknown or lost, or has been left inactive, unclaimed or abandoned by its owners. This typically includes dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, refunds and security deposits. After attempting to establish contact with these funds’ owners and holding assets for five years, businesses or governmental organizations are required to report and remit unclaimed funds to the relevant state’s treasury department to be held by the state until such time the owner makes a claim for them.

How an Advisor Can Locate Missing Property

There are two sites that advisors can use to identify whether or not clients have unclaimed property.

The first is, which is an aggregator of multiple states’ individual databases of unclaimed property. This makes it a convenient search engine for clients that may have lived in multiple states over their adult lives. An important caveat, however. A number of big states do not participate in this shared database, including California, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

To easily locate the individual state web address to search for unclaimed property, use the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators’ site (, which has an easy-to-use map that links directly to each state’s site.

If you find that a client has unclaimed property, it will, of course, need to be claimed by the client directly. Your final step is to simply contact your client about your find and provide him or her with directions on how to submit a claim.

Not all state sites will provide the amount, so it may not be readily apparent how well a client’s efforts will be rewarded. But, like the scratch-off lottery tickets, the fun really resides in the surprise and suspense of what could be!


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